US and UK were the countries that always dominated the music scene. But what about other English-spoken countries like Canada or Australia? Let's have a look at Canadian artists first.
Usually, when someone mentions about Canadian artists, those that come to your mind are Bryan Adams, Celine Dion (the worst artist Canada has ever produced in my opinion), or Justin Bieber. But apart from them, there are tons of other great artists from this region, with bigger, smaller or no success at all.
(In alphabetical order)
1) Bryan Adams
Guess he is the most successful Rock artist coming from Canada, with huge success in the 80s and 90s, and some in the 00s by some degree. He is also a photographer. His biggest album would definitely be Reckless, which was #1 in Canada and in the US as well, and sure his best one. But his most successful song is (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, a #1 hit in more than ten countries. Personally I preferred the Do I Have To Say The Words? instead, more better than Everything I Do...
Not much known are about this band, apart from the fact they released an AOR album in 1986, without any significant commercial success. Still this album deserves a listen. Too bad it lost in obscurity.
One of the last good AOR/Hard Rock before the Grunge kids came into the music scene, and destroy everything with their miserable music and lyrics. This band was a collaboration, of members from Sheriff (see below), and Heart. Together they scored a huge hit with More Than Words Can Say (#1 in Canada and #2 in the US), and released one of the greatest albums of the 90s, their Self-Titled debut.
4) Leonard Cohen
Apart from his involvement in music business, he is also known as a poet, and also his involvement with politics and religion (at one point of his life during the 90s, he was a Buddhist monk). He started his music career at an older age, unlike most musicians/singers (he was in his 30s already), and his albums were highly praised among reviewers. Although I don't like his overall style (too croonerish for my taste), I liked some stuff he did in the 80s (God bless 80s music production! ) like First We Take Manhattan and Everybody Knows. What is also notable, is the fact that he is older than almost any other artist, being currently active, still he managed to conquer the #1 spot in albums charts, in four different countries, with his latest album Popular Problems, being 80 years old himself by then.
5) Coney Hatch
Is there any more underrated Hard Rock band? I don't think so. Despite having their debut album produced by Kim Mitchel from Max Webster, who held a high reputation at the time, they didn't receive neither critical acclaim nor commercial success. Their debut album is among the early 80s Hard Rock masterpieces, which was both cutting edge and catchy at the same time. It also produced a Canadian Top 20 Hit called Hey Operator, which was covered by Aldo Nova the next year.
6) Glass Tiger
Perhaps the biggest Rock band in Canada between the late 80s and early 90s. Although they released only three albums in their career, all of them became highly successful, with The Thin Red Line being one of the strongest debuts coming from a Rock band ever. Also the very good Simple Mission which saved the day, since 1991 was a very bad year in music. You know why. Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone), is their biggest hit which was #1 in Canada and #2 in the US, featuring Bryan Adams on backing vocals.
Despite the fact they never managed to reach any amount of commercial success, the band is still active, and they are still touring, making themselves more like a cult band. They haven't released many albums, during their existence for four decades, but all the albums they released are pretty good, with Love Crimes being their best.
8. Corey Hart
Although Corey Hart had big success in Canada, and in the US as well, this guy for some reason, didn't gain any attention in the UK. Since the late 80s, Corey Hart's popularity in the US started to decline, but still remained popular in his homeland through the years. Definitely his best albums are First Offense and Boy In The Box, featuring the classic hits Sunglasses At Night and Never Surrender respectively. Classic albums among, what we would call Dance Rock.
9) Honeymoon Suite
Honeymoon Suite is the best Glam Metal band, Canada has ever produced. Although they started as a Power Pop/New Wave band (their debut album features that style) later they developed their Glam Metal sound, they started in New Girl Now and Burning In Love, two songs from their debut. Their second album The Prize, brought them to the Canadian Top 10, in the albums chart, and scoring a US Top 40 hit with Feel It Again.
Really hard to find a picture of this band. Lime were a Hi-NRG studio project (that's why the lack of pictures). Their biggest hit was Your Love, which was a #1 hit in the US Dance charts. Also another big hit from them was Unexpected Lovers. They definitely remain among the best of this genre, not only in Canada but all around the world, along with Trans-X (listed below).
Loverboy were definitely the biggest AOR band from Canada. They were one of the lucky bands that had success since they started. Turn Me Loose was a big success, reaching the Top 10 in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and also making it into the US Top 40. Their next album Get Lucky, found the band achieving massive success that they enjoyed till the end of the 80s. Unfortunately since the 80s ended they got lost from the spotlight. You know why.
I guess this singer is pretty much forgotten nowadays (unfortunately), and she was a really hot babe back in the day! During the early 80s, she was part of a band named Luba as well, and they recorded a really underrated New Wave classic, called Chain Reaction. Her debut solo album Secrets And Sins was also really good, featuring the Power Ballad Everytime I See Your Picture Cry, and the minor Dance hit Let It Go. Her biggest success came in the late 80s, when her songs When A Man Loves A Woman and Giving Away A MIracle, reached the Canadian Top 10.
13) Martha & The Muffins
Martha & The Muffins, were more or less the Canadian version of Blondie. A New Wave band with a female vocalist. They had one of the strongest debuts with Metro Music featuring their biggest hit Echo Beach which was a UK Top 10 hit. Later under the name M+M, they scored their biggest hit in the US with Black Stations/White Stations which reached #2 in the US Dance charts. A really nice video was shot for this song.
14) Aldo Nova
Aldo Nova is perhaps my favorite Canadian artist. I would say he is the man who set the basis of the Glam Metal sound, that it would explode in the mid-80s. Listen to his debut album, to see how 1984 it sounds. And it was released two years earlier, in 1982. Apart from his debut, he released the excellent albums, Subject...Aldo Nova and Twitch, and he was also a part in the making of Bon Jovi's debut. But what is disappointing in his career, is that he later became a Producer and a Songwriter for Celine Dion.
Perhaps the biggest Progressive Rock band from Canada. Although they started as a more Traditional Rock band, they later evolved their sound into a more Progressive Rock direction, which was their golden period, and much later they could might be defined even as an AOR or as a Synth-Pop band. Perhaps Permanent Waves is their biggest album (and my favorite among their Progressive Rock period), featuring Spirit On The Radio, which was their biggest hit in the UK, reaching the Top 20 there.
Another successful Progressive Rock band from Canada, yet not as successful as Rush. What's more interesting here, is the fact that Saga, since the 90s despite losing popularity in their homeland, they remained moderately popular in Germany. Their most successful album, perhaps it would be Behaviour, even if it wasn't their most representative. This would be Images At Twilight.
Sheriff was one of those one-album bands, and a band that would meet huge success, after their break-up, when their single When I'm With You reached #1, seven years after its original release. This song although, overshadowed their whole album, which is pretty good and deserves a listen.
A band featuring future Loverboy members, Paul Dean and Matt Frenette. Whilst they never had Loverboy's success, this band was one of the first liners among the Canadian AOR. Even though their success is minor, albums like Drugstore Dancer, Dancing With Danger and the compilation of unreleased material Buried Treasures as well, were first-class AOR albums, that could easily antagonize Loverboy's work.
A Hi-NRG duo, mostly popular for their song Living On Video. Like Living On Video, this band had a fascination with futuristic/sci-fi lyrics and song titles, like 3D Dance, Digital World, 21st Century. Likewise their videos from Living On Video, 3D Dance and Message In Radio, were set into a futuristic environment.
There are not many Canadian Metal bands, but Triumph is definitely the most successful Metal band coming from Canada. Apart from their signature Hard Rock/Metal sound, Triumph had some involvement with the AOR genre, notably in The Sport Of Kings album. Differences within the band, made them lost momentum, falling apart, and breaking up as a result. If they didn't, then they actually might be equal rivals of bands like Metallica.